Friday, October 19, 2012

Merkel and Hollande Disagree About Agreement

Angela Merkel, it was said, did not like Nicolas Sarkozy, but she was able to feign agreement with him from time to time. Apparently she cannot do this with Hollande. The two no longer even pretend to be discussing the same subjects. Hollande thinks he got a banking agreement in Brussels that will take effect before the end of the year. Merkel things there was a framework established for a future banking union and no agreement as to direct recapitalization of Spanish banks until all the details have been worked out. Hollande flatly rejected Merkel's call for a budgetary czar in Brussels and insists that Europe already has all the fiscal union it needs.

What can possibly alter this destructive cycle in the European discussion? Is it actually worse than before? Perhaps not. Open disagreement is at least informative, whereas veiled disputes merely enhanced the confusion. But I think we will soon see a market run on Spain.

Villepin Backs Copé

Dominique de Villepin has anounced his support for J.-F. Copé in the UMP leadership fight. Those who have always doubted Villepin's judgment will find new reasons to do so in this decision. Villepin at once minimized the significance of Copé's hard right turn, praised him as the leader of a new generation, and dismissed Fillon, who is all of 58 years old, as a has-been of Villepin's own generation, which he is prepared to put out to pasture--until, that is, he is called in from the cold by Copé to assume the position for which he no doubt feels himself destined.